Beijing, July 9 (IANS): Tennis star, Li Na will lead the Chinese Tennis contingent at this summer’s London Olympics. The Olympic Tennis field, hugely competitive, has big guns like Beijing Olympics Bronze medallist, Novak Djokovic and Maria Sharapova
A competitive field however is not a concern for Sun Jinfang, head of China’s governing Tennis body.
“You never know what could happen in the Olympics,” she said. “It’s not like a regular tournament. We have four Grand Slams every year but the Olympics comes around once every four years so there’s more pressure,” Jinfang was quoted as saying by Xinhua.
“Of course it’s very challenging given the singles entry, but I hope the players can bring us more surprises and make the country proud.”
Four Chinese have qualified for the Olympic tennis event, which runs from July 28 to August 5. Li, last year’s French Open winner, will be joined by Zheng Jie and Peng Shuai in the women’s singles draw. Peng and Zheng will also team up for doubles, while Li will parner alongside Zhang Shuai.
China’s Tennis contingent is much reduced than that in the previous Olympics, but nevertheless is a much improved one this time around.
30-year-old Li rose to fame when she won the 2011 French Open title to become Asia’s first Grand Slam singles champion.
Although Li has not won a trophy since the French victory, the World No. 11 still remains a medal contender at the Olympics.
“I am looking forward to playing at the Olympics. This could be my last time to play for my country at the Olympics as I’m already 30 years old and you never know what will happen after four years,” Li said during this year’s Wimbledon.
The Olympic games are just three weeks away now. The All-England club hosted the 1908 Olympic Tennis matches.
The usual clothing restrictions will be relaxed at the traditionalist All England Club , with players wearing the national colours instead of the regular white.
“I’m looking forward to seeing matches at Wimbledon without people wearing white,” Li said.
“In more than 100 years nothing has changed here so maybe it’s the only time in a lifetime you can see people wearing different colours.”
Li has twice been a quarterfinalist at Wimbledon.
Despite Li’s stellar Grand Slam performances, China’s best singles run at Wimbledon was Zheng’s semifinal surge in 2008 which was ended by American Serena Williams.
Zheng, gave eventual winner Williams, a real scare at this years tournament too.
Zheng, if she plays true to form can be an assest for China in the coming games.
Zheng and former partner Yan Zi won the 2006 Wimbledon doubles title and her partnership with Peng may spring a few surprises this coming games.
“We only played together on a couple of occasions this season because both of us have different tournaments to contest. Maybe Peng and I did not get a lot of practice and matches together like I did with Yan, but it’s becoming an advantage for us, because our opponents will know little about our tactics,” Zheng said.
The 28-year-old is so eager to do well in the Olympics that she even participated in the mixed doubles event at Wimbledon. “I just want to get more used to playing doubles and on grass,” she added.
Zheng who won the bronze medal four years ago in doubles, wants a better result this time around.
The Williams sisters, Venus and Serena will be major opponents for the Chinese in both Singles and Doubles.
Serena won her fifth Wimbledon singles title this year and the doubles title with sister Venus.